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Letters to the editor - 3/15/03

March 17, 2003

Charter schools work for students



To the editor:


Maryland Charter School Network, a nonpartisan statewide organization to promote and serve the Maryland charter school movement, supports HB 859. Charter schools are public schools that must compete for students and account to the community for academic results. Charter schools work!

Maryland Charter School Network maintains that to assure the broadest range of possible educational alternatives with the highest quality, there are critical elements needed in a charter school law.

HB 859 encompasses these elements and will create the environment that will foster strong public charter schools for Maryland children, in addition to qualifying and competing for Federal charter school dollars. Some of the critical elements are:

- Organizers may apply to multiple chartering authorities, including the local school board;

- The charter school shall be a legal entity;

- Charter schools shall have fiscal autonomy;

- A charter school is exempt from all statutes and rules applicable to a school board or school district, although it may elect to comply. This shall exclude all civil rights laws or health and safety codes.

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- Charter schools shall be exempt from existing district collective bargaining agreements; teachers who choose to be employees of the public charter school shall have the right to organize and bargain collectively; and

- Charter schools will receive full per-pupil funding.

Since 1997, we have been working with parents, educators, community organizations, and businesses across the state. Here are some of the facts the committee should know about Maryland citizens:

Weekly, desperate parents call searching for a charter school for their child's education;

Certified teachers inquire regularly about teaching positions in Maryland public charter schools;

Several traditional public schools in the state, want to convert to charter school status, to serve their students better;

Maryland certified teachers are considering leaving the state to open charter schools in states that are more receptive than Maryland;

Families from both Prince George's and Montgomery Counties have moved to D.C. to enroll their children in charter schools;

Dr. Grasmick encouraged the local Boards of Education to adopt charter school policies. To date, only two counties have done so.

Boards of Education in at least Baltimore City, Baltimore County, Prince George's County, Wicomico County, Charles County, Howard County, Montgomery County, Harford County, Anne Arundel County and Carroll County, have been approached about charter schools. To date, only Frederick has supported a charter school effort

Maryland institutions of higher education are interested in establishing charter schools to publicly educate Maryland children.

Maryland families deserve the charter school option now. Please consider HB 859, a charter school law that provides real encouragement for families, teachers, and communities to establish charter schools. Maryland Charter School Network urges a favorable report on HB 859. Charter Schools Work!

Joni Garnder
Board member
Maryland Charter School Network




Newcomers should try hard to 'blend in'



To the editor:


This letter is addressed to Kariem Keto of Knoxville who took exception to Ed James' interpretation of Senator Grosfeld's remarks concerning prayer in the state Senate.

It is not a question of doing the "right" thing, Mr. Keto. "Right" is subject to interpretation also. What may I ask is "proper" public prayer that you mention.

This is a nation founded for and by Christians. It is only out of our Christian tolerance that other people have come here bringing with them their religions, free to practice it as they choose.

Those of us who can claim ancestry pushing back the wilderness beginning in Virginia have a long history of trusting the God of Abraham, Isaac and Joseph, and we expect newcomers adhere to our way of life. Call this narrow-minded, tunnel vision, or whatever, it is as it is. Otherwise, they are welcome and I honestly believe add something to our country.

We only ask that they try to blend in rather than change our values or try to take over. For hundreds of years, this is the way it was. Regardless of nationality, they all learned to speak English and they tolerated our religion if they did not embrace it.

I respectfully suggest you stop your attempts at justification of your own needs at the expense of others.

Shirley Fouke
Hagerstown




For tasty meals try Bubba's Deli



To the editor:


I have been eating at Bubba's Deli on Howard Street for at least two years. In that time, I have never gotten food that was not palatable. Debbie and Donnie Dagenhart own the business and in my opinion have shown what truly good food is like. The atmosphere is great and people from all walks of life eat there.

I think when a place of business has a good thing, it should be recognized.

Bill Divelbiss
Hagerstown

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